Friday, December 30, 2011

Parking the Motor Home in someones front yard

Hello All,
New years is upon us and I had a subject that I wanted to get off my chest. I have met so many cruisers that only mingle with other cruisers or at least don't care about meeting locals. Its a shame that they don't get to know the locals, they have so much to offer. I have met so many, to many to count that just want friendship from someone from another place.
The Pacific Ocean is a very unique ocean for this because of the numbers, a very small number live on these Islands and they are wonderful people as a whole. I say that because since I have been in the Solomon's I have had have stuff stolen off the boat. But that being said the people here have been so nice. The Solomon's are special because they are an actual independent country without help from anyone so there is no country helping the economy. The wood carvers here are artists and they do this work for money or trade to benefit themselves or to feed their families.
Getting back to the point of the article. These cruisers anchor in these peoples front yards and want to be left alone, give me a break, what would you do if a 50 foot motor home parked in front of your house for a month, these people have no money so they are going to try to sell you something, like a carving, or veggies, at least they have something worth while to sell. They can be a little pushy but I don't blame them.
All of the cruisers I have met are not from here so we are a guest in this country and if they don't like it, as the saying goes "If you don't like the heat, get out of the galley". I made this trip not to be alone and anchor where I won't be bothered, but to meet other cultures and to get to know them as a people. I would have to say I have done very well at that and so have they. I have a load of carvings to prove it.
I wrote this after talking to other cruisers and their negative experiences here in the Solomon's, I have had nothing but good with the Solomon people here. To bad the cruisers didn't or don't have the same feelings. Maybe they should pull there heads from where the sun doesn't shine and realize they are not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Their loss.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Round House

Hello All,
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and I want to thank everyone that sent me an email wishing me one. The last few days I have been doing some light maintenance and exploring around the Island by dingy. I spent a few hours yesterday with the snorkel cleaning the bottom of the boat. Paula and Rafal were the last ones to do it so it was due. It makes it much easier if you do it every few weeks. I am still anchored here at Liapari and have decided to stay till after the new year. Laurie and Karen the assie couple left to go to a resort yesterday for the new year so now it is myself and a couple from Switzerland. We have been going to the round house every night at 5 to talk to Noel and Rosie and having a great time visiting. It sounds like we will all have a BBQ for new years and Noel has some old flares to shoot for fireworks.
Tomorrow the Swiss couple and myself are taking the water taxi to Gizo to get some groceries and I need to send off a few faxes to my new crew arriving on the 10th. This is a much quieter anchorage than Gizo and new years there could be a little crazy so I figured the boat is safer here and its easier to get projects done. I will probably take the boat back over to Gizo sometime next week.
I will keep in touch and let you know what's happening.


P.S. Trivia moment, The Island next door to us Vella Lavella has an old abandon Air strip that during the war was the home base for the Black Sheep Squadron. There is a trail that leads over there and I will explore it in the next few days.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Solomons

Merry Christmas All,
Myself and the 3 other yachts here at Liapari Island have had a great time visiting and hanging out together. Friday night we all had a BBQ with Noel and Rosie at the round house and had an awesome time visiting and chatting. It was just the warm up to last night which was Noels birthday, the 24th. He set up for a roasted pig for dinner first thing in the morning and 6 of us took turns at the rotisserie over an open fire till the pig was done 4 hours later. Noel employees 28 locals for his boat building business and them and there families showed up with, rice, fish, watermelon, beef, stir fry, potato's, salad and many other things. It was a wonderful evening and one of the best Christmas eve parties.
Today we were invited to Noels home and we watched movies all day on his big screen, he and Rosie fed us a wonderful dinner with mostly left over's from the night before and still tasted great. Everyone here has been the best and I have had a great Christmas despite the fact I can't be home.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and wish you all a great day.
I will keep in touch.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

BBQ tonight at the round house

Hello All,
I took a walking tour of the Island this morning. There is a track that goes all the way around and it was a beautiful walk. Liapari is very close to the main Island of Vella Lavella. In fact there is a broken down old bridge that connects the two. The Japanese built it in the war and know one has kept up with the decay so to cross you now have to walk on coconut logs. There is a beautiful lagoon between the 2 Islands. I got some good pictures and when this northern wind comes down I will take the dingy through to explore. I also took some good pictures of Noels operation here. He is working on an old landing craft putting a new steel bottom in and is refitting an old San Diego ferry boat to be a Mega Yacht. I had a really good chat with him last night, just the 2 of us. He is an old motor head so we hit it off really well. And he is a big Catapillar engine fan.

Today an Australian yacht showed up from Gizo. I met him last week and he is a real character. He had mates help him get the boat here for the passage and now he is touring around on his own. He brought a bunch of chicken and meat with him so we will have a BBQ at the round house tonight, that's what everyone calls the grass hut Noel built for a meeting place. Everyone is bringing a little something and I will bring my last 2 cans of Alaska Red salmon and crackers. There are only 4 boats here so we will be a nice tight little group.

Tomorrow night, Christmas eve, Noel is having his 60th birthday party at the round house. He and his workers have constructed a massive rotisserie to cook a whole pig over a fire. It looks like it is going to be a Christmas eve to remember and I will fill you in on all of the festivities.

Good news on the Freestyle, I have 2 people showing up on the 10th and 11th of Jan to help me get the boat to Japan. There is a guy from New Zealand that will go as far as Guam and the other guy is from Denmark and he will help me get up to Japan. What an awesome Christmas present for me. Seems like all of the planets lined up for me on these passages. This is water not very heavily traveled for cruising boats so I feel blessed.
Well I need to get ready to go so I will talk to you later.


P.S. I never talk about the weather much so I will fill you in. Sunny day, wind 15 to 20 knots out of the North and 95 degrees. Water temp is 94 degrees.

You need to remember Rick is 20 hours ahead of Alaska, so he is already into Christmas Eve.

Liapari Island Anchorage

Hello All,
I finally made it over to Liapari. I came over with the Australian boat yesterday morning. Laurie and Karen on there boat Tropicali. They have been so nice to me, we have been hanging out visiting almost every day since I met them. My position is 07 56. 83S 156 42.31E They beat me over here from Gizo by about 15 minutes so they waited at the reef entrance so they could show me the way in. It is a little tricky because you have to pass over 2 reefs to get here. It is a beautiful anchorage and like I said in a previous blog the Island is owned by a guy originally from New Zealand. We met up with Noel, the owner, last night and his wife. There is one other boat here and every day at 5 pm everyone goes to the beach and has a sundowner. Noel has set up a round grass hut for everyone to meet under. He also works on boats here, he has several slip ways,(slip way is a means to haul a boat out of the water) and a few work shops to do the boat work in. It is an oasis for boat repair in the middle of know where.
The wind is blowing 20 knots out of the North but the sun is shining, looks like another hot day here in paradise.
I will go exploring today. It's not a big Island but I am told there is a track that goes all the way around. I will be spending Christmas here and will be in good company. I will keep in touch and let you know what I am up to.


Rick sent this on the 20th and I posted it on the 22nd.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Liapari Island Solomon's

Hello All,
The last few days I have been preparing to take the boat to an Island 14 miles north west of here. I am told it's a very protected anchorage and is owned by a guy that is originally from New Zealand. I met him and his wife here at the yacht club last week and they are very nice people. She is from the Solomon's and he has been here for many years.

I met a cruising couple from Australia last week also and they have been so nice and they know the owner of the Island. Noel is his name and we plan to go over there together for Christmas, hopefully tomorrow weather permitting. There are a few other yachts over there anchored so I will have lots of company for Christmas. The owner, Noel, has a boat refitting facility there and the Island is suppose to be an amazing place. I am in good company here with the people I have met so I will have a good holiday. I do miss my family and I hope they all have a great holiday also.
This will mark the first time in my life that I have spent time away for the holidays, but as someone said there is always a first time for everything. I have been keeping in touch with my family and I hope they understand. I will be home to see everyone in 8 months so not to long to wait. When I get over to Liapari Island I will let you know what it's like.

Gizo has been a little weird for me, it is a town but it has no good drinking water. I have been catching mine in a tarp, with the rain, the Internet has been hit and miss and expensive, there is no grocery store, only these tiny Chinese shops that sell eggs and if your lucky bread. PT 109, where I am anchored and 2 other places have establishments where you can buy a meal to eat. It is definatly not a tourist destination. All of that being said they have the basics, milk, rice, pasta, meats and bettle nut. That is a nut that the Solomon's treat like chewing tobacco. It is grown locally but you chew the nut like we would candy. You spit and it looks like blood on the ground, red in color and almost everyone I have met here has red teeth. Its kind of gross, I don't know what it tastes like but they must like it.

If you sense a bit of home sickness and feeling a little out of place with no cold and no snow you are correct. They do have there Christmas music playing in the shops and the trees and the tinsel up but without snow it's just out of place for me. This will be a Christmas remembered for me and I am looking forward to hanging out with my new friends for the holidays on Liapari Island.

Also I have 2 crew members showing up the second week of January. One is from New Zealand to help me to Guam and the other is from Denmark to get me to Japan so I'm very happy about that and I have been corresponding with help from Japan to home but we will discuss that when it happens. I will let you know when I get to the other Island just to fill you in on what I have been up to.
Talk to you soon.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Dug Out Canoes

Hello All,
I thought I would write an article about something we take for granted out here but you guys at home probably find it interesting that people still carve out wooden boats and use them everyday for transport of goods, people and just having fun.
Vanuatu was the first place I really saw these wooden canoes used as a daily necessity. The other island groups used them more as an icon to the ancestor's or just for show or a race on a holiday. Like you see in the photo this dug out has an outrigger. This was prominent in Vanuatu as in other Island groups. If you notice the pointy keel, this doesn't allow the canoe to be stable on its own it has to have an outrigger. Buy the way this is a picture of a carving that Rafal did in the coarse of our trip through the Solomons. He did this with a pocket knife and some of my power tools onboard, pretty good huh? They gave this to me right before they left as a gift for sharing my boat with them in my travels. I am very proud to have it onboard. If you also notice the shell with the string attached, that is an anchor, most use a piece of coral. They take these boats out to the reef and go spear fishing with them. Speaking of reefs, these are not outside boats. They use them mostly in protected waters. The modern age has allowed the locals to travel between Islands of great distance by modern ferry boat but it is still nice to see tradition alive and well.

When we arrived in the Solomons I was very surprised to see the canoes without outriggers. There hull design is a hundred years over the other Island groups. There boats are still made of wood but have a more flat bottom which allows more stability, very much like the canoes we use in America. I have given this some thought and my observation is, Solomons have bigger trees to allow for a wider boat, sounds good anyway.
The facts about a dugout canoe are, they last 10 years if pulled out of the water after every use. It takes 3 Island weeks to build one from scratch. I say Island weeks because you have to know how these guys roll, they are a work of art and what's funny is, most islanders that own one bought it from a boat carver, hence not everyone can carve a boat out here. Dug out shipwrites have cornered the market.

Dugouts of the Solomons in the WWII war effort:
That may sound a little funny to someone that has been on a 500 ton destroyer but it's a fact, dug out canoes helped. I had 2 stories told to me while I was here. When we were in Mbili Passage we talked to a local that told us his grandfather was forced to take 2 Japanese soldiers from one Island to another in the cover of darkness in a canoe. The canoes are very stealthy and can come up to you and be there before you know it, I know because they do it to me all the time to say hello, I about have heart failure when they knock on the hull, anyway, his grandfather heard that Japanese don't always know how to swim, he took a chance and after getting off the beach a little ways he wobbled the canoe twice and all 3 ended up in the water. He came back to the village by himself. There is another story more famous and involves our former President. When Kennedy was marooned on Kasolo Island AKA Kennedy Island he sent a message on a green coconut to be transported by dugout for a rescue. The unique thing about sending a message that way is when you mark the coconut the message won't show up on the skin for several days. When it ripens it is plain as day. This protected a lot of the locals from being killed sending messages for the American command. What's funny is Kennedy didn't believe the locals when told this and as they say the rest is history. Kennedy had the Coconut sealed in a round case and used it as a paper weight in the oval office during his presidency.

Even though I see outboard motors fly in and out of here attached to there fiber glass boats, transporting stuffs and peoples to villages, I still see dugouts doing the same. They are here to stay for the near future, as it should be.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Diet of the South Pacific Islands Part One

Hello All,
I thought I would take the time to write about food of the Pacific Islands. I called my grandma Morris a few weeks ago and she has been keeping up with my blog and has really been enjoying my travels. She told me the only thing that I never explain very well is the food that we eat when we are invited into people's homes so I thought I would dedicate a blog to the subject. I will break this down into countries and I will make this part one of a series.
It is actually not very complicated to explain because their diet is so basic but each country has it's own style.

French Polynesia was the most fun because I had never tried a lot of this food before. They eat reef fish daily, more so than any other country I have visited. They are very small so it usually takes 2 to make a meal. They are usually fried but also cooked in fresh lime juice (Poisson Cru). They also have lots of fruit, mangos, bananas, lemons, limes, guava and my favorite, the famous Pamplemousse AKA grapefruit. They don't grow allot of veggies in French Poly. One of the most famous fruits is the Breadfruit. This soft ball sized fruit is what cost Captain Bligh his ship HMS Bounty while he was trying to take breadfruit trees back to the Carribean to feed the slaves. It is green in color and when boiled tastes and has the texture of a potato. I didn't care for it much but the natives love this stuff. Then there is always the trusty coconut.
There meat, besides fish consists of wild pig and chicken. I could lump the Cook Islands into this food diet also because they are so similar. We only visited Penrhyn which is a coral atoll so they were missing some of the fruit items.
That is it in a coconut shell hehe.
Up next will be the food of the Samoan Islands.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New posted pictures and a thank you to the followers

Hello All,
It's just another beautiful hot day in Gizo. My crew search is going well I have a few options which is a good thing so now if one decides to go I will be busy trying to get them into the country. Most places in the world now do not accept a person from a foreign land to come to a country without proof of them being able to leave and the Solomons is no exception. It's not hard just a bunch of paperwork. I will keep you posted on my progress.
I was fooling around with my blog settings and came across how many page reads have been made. 10,000 in the US alone and 2nd up was the UK at 1700. 6 other countries were listed with less numbers. I was amazed and wanted to thank everyone that has been keeping up with me. It makes me feel good that people are interested in the travels of this little double ended boat and its Alaskan skipper.
Thank you one and all.
I am going to be writing some articles on some things I have not explained very well, like food the Islanders eat so, keep your eyes open.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Modern war of the Solomons

Hello All
I thought I would give you a little history lesson of an Island group most in the world have never heard of besides the Island of Guadalcanal. This is the story of what is famously called "The Tensions" I call it an all out civil war but being the bear of a very small brain I can't tell the difference. It all started as far back
as WWII. There is an Island here, one of the biggest and most inhabited of the group called Malaita. It is just north west of Guadalcanal. During the war the Malaitans were called on for help for construction of infrastructure for the war effort because there was so many of them and everyone in the Solomons, like in America, came together as one to fight off the enemy. After the war the malaitans made home basically through out the Solomons and being a British colony they put the country back together and lived there basic lives. With a lot of outside interests the Solomons became a major copra and timber export to supply the world. They two called on the Malatians for the labor force.
In 1978 the Solomon Islands declared independence and put together a government to make the country there own.
In 1999 after struggling for years to make a solid country the Malaitans and Guadalcanal had a disagreement and started "The Tensions". Resorts were burned down, Honiara the capital was on fire, people on both sides were killed, the place was a mess. This went on for 4 years and the Prime Minister out of options and a country in ruins asked Australia for assistance. From the work of the Prime Minister and what was left of the Solomon government, what was created still exists here today.
"Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands" (RAMSI) After his meeting with the Australian government 15 South Pacific countries stepped up to help a neighbor in need. Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Nauru. Civilans, police and military from all of the countries listed all showed up at Henderson International Airport in Honiara in July 2003. Not angry but to to bring law and order back to the country. RAMSI is not a permanent organization but only to help the Solomon Islanders through this time of need. RAMSI is working side by side with the Solomon government to educate and train people so this will never happen again. If I can add my own thoughts to the matter I would say there is still heaps of work to be done.
Malaitans are still not very well liked here in the Western Providence and until everyone gets along I would say RAMSI will be here for the near future. They plan to
leave the country by 2014 but I wouldn't hold my breath for that date. It's a story that sounds so familiar to America during our civil war with events and tensions
In conclusion and besides all of what has happened here in the last century I would say the people here as a whole are a very robust bunch and they will make it work
out and in the end to be equals to there neighboring countries. This will be the next Fiji someday, trust me.
It is such a unigue place on earth and the people as a whole are very kind and welcoming and they love America which is good for me as a visitor. If they could only turn down the heat a little bit. I have been all through the South Pacific and this is one of the hottest places I have been and truth be known it is one of the hottest Island groups on the planet, that's a fact.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sad day on the Freestyle

Hello All,
We made it back to Gizo this morning and got the boat anchored again in front of the Yacht Club.
I took Rafal and Paula to the Airport Island today in the dingy to put them on an airplane bound for Honiara then Fiji.While in Fiji they will try to find a boat bound for New Zealand, if not they will just fly there and travel for a few months then move on to South America then home to Poland in a years time. I had a tough time seeing them go, they have been the best crew and turned into really good friends. They were a big help on my boat and always eager to go new places and were very interested in sailing as a whole. They love swimming and diving so at the last resort we visited this weekend they set my anchor in a sand patch and made sure the chain wouldnt get tangled in coral. Both of the resorts we visited had coral encumbered anchorages so having them around made it so easy to anchor where most people would cringe at the thought. We had a great weekend together, We went out to Kennedy Island and explored around. They snorceled on the pass where we origanally entered the lagoon and I just took the dingy around to take a look. They will be missed and I wish them all of the best in there travels.
I will be hanging out in the Gizo area looking for crew to get me north. I am currently on a Find a Crew website that has worked for me in the past so we will see.
While I have Internet here I will also be posting new pictures so keep your eyes open for them.
I will talk to you soon.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sanbis Resort

Hello All,
We left Gizo yesterday to explore around inside the Gizo Island lagoon. Most of the anchorages are fairly close to town so it is very easy to get away from it all. We found a beautiful day anchorage on the north end of the airport Island. The water was very clear and the corals were very nice. Gizo is a pretty unique place because the airport is located on an Island 1 mile from town. The Island its self has white sandy beach's and has a very nice reef that surrounds it. One of the nicest airports I have ever seen. After spending the afternoon at the airport we brought the boat south and anchored off of Mbambanga Island right in front of the Sanbis Resort. It is owned by an Australian guy and everyone here is very nice. They have this really cool bar that is out over the water on pilings with a small dock to tie the dingy to. They make home made pizza and have a big screen TV that you can watch DVD's on. They also have a pool table and I lost in a bad way to one of the locals last night. It is a very small resort and they have only 2 guests at the moment so it is a very quiet place.

We will spent one more night here then we will move on to I dont know where yet. Paula and Rafal will be leaving on Monday so we will head back to town in a few days.
I will talk to you soon.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gizo Town

Hello All,
We made it to Gizo yesterday morning at 0900. My position is 08 05.99S 156 50.37E. We spent Monday morning traveling out of Marovo Lagoon and then made a 3 hour crossing to Tetepare Island. It is the worlds largest uninhabited Island. It does not offer any good anchorages so we just found 2 places with moderate anchor holding and some what protected from the wind so we could kill some time before doing an over night passage to here. The Island is a wildlife preserve with heaps of sea life and birds. We didn't get to explore much because of our short time there but at least we can say we have been there.
We had an excellent crossing to Gizo, it was a beautiful evening and we were able to sail part of the way even though the weather man said very light winds.
We came into Gizo through the Eastern passage. The Island of Gizo is protected by a reef that incompasses the whole southeastern side. We passed by a very small island as we entered called Kennedy Island. It is named for President Kennedy after his PT boat was ran over by a japanese destoyer and sank near by. Him and his men used the island as a refuge before being resued.
Gizo has 3500 people that live in this seaside town. It does not offer much to a cruising boat but is a very safe anchorage. It does have a Yacht club called PT109, the name of Kennedy's boat, heaps of Chinese shops, a few cafes and a hospital. The town has a broken down drinking water system so most folks catch rain off of the roofs of homes. For the first time on this trip I am also catching rain water to drink.

Rafal and Paula leave from here and go to New Zealand next week so for the time being we are going to explore some outer Islands and do some swimming. There are a few nice resorts close by so we will go check them out also. There is WIFI here so when we return this weekend I will Skype my family.

I will talk to you soon.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Western Marovo Lagoon

Hello All,
We left Marovo Island yesterday between rain and overcast sky's and anchored for the night by the small village of Seghe. This is the biggest village of Marovo Lagoon and home to an old American airstrip that is used by Solomon airways now. There is a P38 WWII fighter plane just off the end of the runway in 15 feet of water that we went to look at this morning. It is in almost perfect condition considering it has been in the water since the war. We took a quick look around the village this morning also before leaving to the anchorage we are at now. Seghe is famous for the "Australian Coast Watchers" of WWII. There is a mountain behind the village where the Austrians had a lookout, to give a heads up to guadalcanal, if they saw any enemy ships coming there way. I remember seeing this in a documentary one time and now I can say I have been there. Seghe is on the most Eastern point of New Georgia Island.
Besides seeing the plane wreck there wasen't much to do there so we moved on to a beautiful Island group just south west of the village. It is not charted at all so I was using an old Solomon Islands guide book to get me here and it worked out great. The Island is Mbareho and is very small with an even smaller one to the south. We anchored west of the latter one, I forget the name, it's not on a chart. My position is 08 34.64s 157 48.88E. It was a beautiful day so we had good light to see all of the hazards and got here right at 1200. We went to visit the village and took a look around. There are a few carvers here so Rafal and Paula are hoping to get one more before we leave the lagoon in the morning.
Marove Lagoon has been an experience for sure and it has been a great place to visit. I would recommend this place to any cruiser wanting to see the best of the Solomon's.
We have a few options for the next anchorage and haven't decided but we hope to be in Gizo by Tuesday this week.
Talk to you soon.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Hello All,
I thought I would write today and tell everyone at home that I hope they had a good turkey day. They don't celibrate that here so it was basically just another day. We ended up staying one more day here because the weather was rain and overcast. Here in the lagoon it is full of hazards and not all are marked so you need good sun light to navigate. You can see the shallow areas with the sun overhead or behind because of the water color. Light green water is shallow and just green is ok, blue is best and deep. We will try to leave again tomorrow.
Yesterday Paula and Rafal got back just before dark from their adventure to the resort across from us. They said the snorkeling was the best they have seen, seeing octopus, swimming with dolphins and many more creators. They found the resort staff to be very friendly and showed them where the best spots were. At the time they were there the management told them that the whole place was rented by some American doctors on a diving holiday. When they are not diving and having fun they were donating there time to a dozen hospitals in the area helping local staff with all of the aliments of the villagers. We thought that was very kind of them to do that, so Paula and Rafal returned very sore after going 10 miles round trip but they had a great time.
After we figured out we were not going anywhere today we went to the village where 2 of the young men that have been out to the boat a few times showed us around. They explained their culture to us in great detail and showed us a sacred area where the ancestors used to cut up there dead enemies. We even got to see some old skulls and other old body parts. It doesn't sound very good writing that but with the explanation made it much easier to handle.
We will try to leave again in the morning after we go in and say goodbye to the village. They have invited us in for breakfast. They are Seventh Day Adventists here, so tomorrow, Saturday, is there day to worship.
I will let you know what happens.

P.S. Rick sent this yesterday (11-24-2011)


Thursday, November 24, 2011

One more week for the crew

Hello All,
We are still at Marovo Island Anchorage. Yesterday we spent all day at the village visiting and having a few wood carvers show off there stuff. There is some amazing work done here, I bought a few small items but the rest we just took pictures of. Everyone here has been great and the weather has been beautiful but hot. I will not rant to much about the heat because I know what time of year it is in the North Land.
This morning Paula and Rafal set off to make a trip north across the lagoon to a resort where there is suppose to be awesome sea life. The resort is situated on the outer reef of the lagoon. They talked a local out of his canoe last night and he delivered it this morning. They were pretty excited and the wind was flat so it should have been an easy 5 mile run. They are not back as of yet but I will let you know how it turned out.
Myself, I am enjoying a nice quiet day on the boat just doing a few things. I cleaned the outside of the hull because it was getting pretty dirty looking and did some chores inside. I had a few locals stop by just to say hello. It was nice to take a break from the cleaning job. I also took the dingy up a little muddy river at the head of the bay. There were mangroves all around so it really felt like the jungle. The locals take there dug out canoes up the river to get to there gardens.
We will head out in the morning to a large village about 8 miles from here. We are almost done with Marovo Lagoon, we have been enjoying the lake like conditions at anchor. We will be in Gizo by the 29th or so, so my crew can catch a plane to New Zealand. Oh by the way, anyone want to go sailing with me in all of this heat and coconut trees? It's a real offer, I will be looking for replacements in the next month.
That's all for now.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Anchorage hopping at Marovo Lagoon

Hello All,
Yesterday we moved up to an outer reef anchorage. We were able to sail most of the way with a nice and light easterly breeze. As soon as we were anchored Rafal and Paula went snorkeling to explore the deep boat pass close by and I followed them in the dingy. They swam about 2 miles in total all the way out to the Pacific Ocean and saw reef Sharks, Turtles, Barracuda, Red snapper, Manta ray, and many other things. They had a great time and I am still letting a cut heal so they told me all about it, I did have my own fun in the dingy. On my way back to the boat I had at least 50 dolphins playing with my dingy. That was pretty cool, I have had them play with my sail boat but never the dingy. You could almost touch them.
This morning we decided to go west along the northern coast of Vangunu Island and found a nice anchorage by a small village on Marovo Island. My position, 08 30.94S 157 58.49E. This Island is famous for its wood carvings. We had a little fun getting into the anchorage. It was partly cloudy and the water murky so on approach we got a really good look at the reef partly blocking the entrance right under my boat. I got the boat stoped and assessed where we needed to go to get in. We found a small pass right in front of the village. Later today I took Paula and Rafal out to the reef to snorkel and I scouted out a better pass to leave the Logoon.
No sooner did we get the boat anchored here when a dozen dug out canoes came out to say hello. They had wood carvings for sale and a few had veggies to trade for rice and things. I think we are totally stocked now with veggies and carvings.
We will spend 2 days here at least, exploring the Island and going in to visit the village.
I will keep you posted.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Beautiful Marovo Lagoon

Hello All,
We made our move up north yesterday to the small village of Mbatuna. The main religion here in the lagoon is Seventh Day Adventists and Mbatuna houses the main headquarters for the church. They also fund a vocational school here. At the time of our visit to the village a few kids were graduating after 3 years of study. They teach carpentry and mechanics. We only stayed the night there and moved across to the east side of the lagoon to look at some corals. We are anchored between 2 very tiny Islands, the scenery is awesome.
Tomorrow we will move about 5 miles north where there is suppose to be another nice anchorage. Oh, I will give you my position, 08 32.73S 158 08.93E. Go find it on Google Earth you will see what I am talking about.
That's all for now.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wood Carvers a plenty

Hello All,
We are having a great time here in Mbili Passage. The last 2 days we have been visited by a dozen dug out canoes with the most beautiful wood carvings we have seen so far in the Solomon's. The wood of choice they use is Kerosen wood, which is a dark hard wood. The other is ebony and Rosewood. All of us now have a few carvings by trading stuffs or paying what little cash we brought along. I f we had to do it all over again we would have brought more tools and other things they need for trade, oh well, next time. Today we went to the small 4 family village and went to visit with one of the carvers named Alex. He came out and greeted us when we first arrived the other day. He is a really nice guy and showed us his tools and some of his work still uncompleted. Alex also has a yacht book that we signed and I gave him a picture of the boat. After visiting we took the dingy out to the reef not far from where we are anchored and Rafal and Paula went snorkeling. I stayed out of the water nursing a cut I am trying to get healed. They said the coral was amazing with lots of fish and they even got to swim with a few Manta Rays.
This is an amazing place and the people are wonderful. We will move north tomorrow 7 miles and anchor off a village on the mainland Vangunu Island.
That's all for now.


Marovo Lagoon

Hello All,
We made it to the first anchorage in Marovo Lagoon at 1345 this afternoon. My position is 08 39.82S 158 11.26E It only took us 2 hours to get up here from Nggatokae Island anchorage. This Lagoon is one of the largest in the world. That point has been argued because of Vangunu Island in the middle but none the less very big. We will be in the protection of the lagoon for a week or so visiting villages and snaking our way through all of the little Islands along the way. When we got here we were visited by 2 dug out canoes with carvings. We were so impressed by the work we made a deal on a few items.
Yesterday we went out to one of the Islands close by with the dingy and found some of the nicest coral I have seen. I keep making that statement but as I go the record keeps getting broken for the nicest place.
We will spend a few days here at Mbili Passage anchorage and check out all of the reefs around here. There are a few villages close by so we will pay them a visit also.

P.S. I keep forgetting to tell everyone that I have added some new pictures and I updated my route on my site while I was in Honiara. Take a look.


P.S.S. Mom posted this for Rick 2 days late because of power outages in Nikiski

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nggatokae Island

Hello All,
We arrived at the Island at 0930 this morning. Our position is 08 47.17 S 158 13.85 E. We got to sail a whole 10 miles of the 60 mile crossing from the Russell Islands. The wind came down and the sea was the flattest I have seen in a years time. We were not in a big hurry to get here so I only had the engine running at half speed. When we arrived here at the anchorage there were buoys to mark the entrance in. It is only a small area protected by reef so there is only room for a few boats in here and we are the only ones for now anyway. There is a small village here and a resort, which I may add is not friendly to Yachties. There is also a dive shop that is owned by Lisa. She is an American woman that lived in Hawaii for the last 30 years doing dives for tourists there. She is a character and has been here for the last 5 years. She has dove on the area since 1990 on holidays. Rafal and Paula have diving certificates and they are thinking about hiring her for a dive around one of the Islands close by.
The village here is very neat and tidy and is full of wood carvers. We got to see some work walking around and it is very nice but also very expensive. As per Solomon style every one is as nice as they can be but I won't leave anything out. I will stay optimistic and not let a few bad apples ruin this country for me. It is not visited by very many yachts so it makes it very unique. I think we will spend a few days here. We have a good feeling for this place.
That's all for now so I will talk to you soon.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Leaving Russell Island Group

Hello All,
We just left the Russell Islands this evening. We were going to leave yesterday but when we got up Saturday morning we realized our cockpit cushions were missing. We had them under the dodger but I guess it was to close to sticky fingers. We went to see the chief of the village and let him know what happened. He said he would ask around and see if he could find out who did it so we wanted to wait one more day to see if he could find them. It is not that big of a deal but it makes sitting outside a little hard on the butt.
We found a good spot to go snorkeling this morning but after Rafal saw some gray sharks that were acting weird I just stayed in the dingy and they moved over closer to the reef. Yes I am a chicken. hehe. The coral was beautiful from what they said. I took their word for it. We went back to the boat after a few hours of swimming and went to see what the chief found out. He didn't know anything as of yet but we exchanged info in hopes he can find them, give them to the police and they will send them to Gizo where we will be in a few weeks.
I get a real bitter sweet taste here, the Islands are beautiful the people have been very nice, the anchorages are fabulous but the thieving is driving me crazy.
We plan to arrive at Nggatokae Island by mid morning some time. The wind is very light but we are making 3.5 knots with a full main and the yankee jib.
Okay I must get out and keep watch tonight so I will talk to you soon.


Friday, November 11, 2011

On Passage to Russell Islands


Hello All,
We left Honiara at 1030 PM last night to do an over night passage to the Russell Islands 54 miles away. The wind is very light so have been motoring must of the way. We had a great time in Honiara. We went and snorkeled on a B-17 bomber out the road and after I went and looked at the U.S. war memorial on a hill just above town.
It is early morning here so I will be brief. I will tell you more about it tonight after some sleep.


Hello All,
We made it to the Russell Island group at noon yesterday and anchored in Lingatu Cove. My position 09 07.33 S 159 09.84 E This is a beautiful protected anchorage with a few very small villages around it. It is a little bit of a trick to get in here with the reefs but with good light it was easy. We motor sailed most of the way over here because the wind was so light. It was a beautiful sunny day when we got here and we are getting closer to the equator so I will tell you it was hot. The water temp is 93 degrees and the air temp was 95. You can almost break a sweat swimming.
We will leave here late this after noon and head for Marovo Lagoon in the Western Province. It will be another over night passage to get there.
Today we will go into one of the villages and look around. A few of the locals have come out in there dug out canoes but only to say hello.
That's all for now. Talk to you soon.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God bless America

Hello All,
We have been having a great time in Honiara. Everyone we meet has been so nice and very helpful when we need something or ask for directions. The Point Cruz Yacht Club seems to attract locals and visitors alike and has been an experience every time we go there. We left the mooring Monday morning and decided to tie stern to, to the sea wall. It has worked out great because it offers a little more protection from the sea. Like I said before this is not a good anchorage because of the limited space between the reef that surrounds the bay and Honiara being on the North side of the Island. Before WW2 the capital was 20 miles North of here across Iron Bottom Sound on Tulagi Island part of the Florida Island group. In all of the battles driving out the Japanese it was completely destroyed by the bombings . So after the war the Solomon Islanders made Honiara the new capital. The U.S and Japanese had built up infrastructure here so they just moved into the old buildings and made a new town. Tulagi is a much more of a protected anchorage but as they say the rest is history.

I dont think I have to tell to many WW2 buffs that this place is very famous. It was a turning point in WW2 and one of the most famous and bloody battles in world history. Only because I know a little history of this place that as we entered I looked around and took pause and thought about the brave men that died here. To this day the Solomon Islanders hold a high regard for Americans and there International Airport is named "Henderson Field " named after one of the American Captains that served here. I was told by someone that the Japanese helped fund a remodel to the terminal not long ago and asked if they would change the name. The Prime Minister stepped up and said "so long as there is a Solomon Island government the name will never change". It Made me very proud to hear that.

Tomorrow we will hitch a ride westward and snorkel on a few WW2 planes and ship wrecks. Iron Bottom Sound is full of them but we dont have the time for that so we will just make do with the time we have.

Solomons has been a special place so far and we are having a great time. As you read this please take time to pause like I did and remember all of the brave men that died to make our country so great.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Honiara, the capital city of Solomons

Hello All,
We made it into Honiara at 1100 this morning. Our position is 09 25.66 S 159 57.26 E We grabed the Yacht club mooring for the night till we talk to the club and figure out where we will anchor. This anchorage is a little exposed so it is a bit rolly and there is not much space so we may have to tie stern to, to the seawall close by, we will see.
We had a great sail from Marau Sound last night. We had the wind on the stern all night so only had the main up. The wind got light coming in to the bay so we finished the trip with the engine. It is Sunday here so not much is open but we did take a look around. It is not much of a place but they do have good stores for food and I finally got some Internet. We will spend a few days here to get groceries, check into the country and I will post some pictures also. It is nice to be in civilization again.
I will keep in touch.


Friday, November 4, 2011

The Tensions at Marau Bay

Hello All,
Yesterday morning we were visited by a dug out canoe. It was Joe, chief Justin's other son. He is a wood carver and he also keeps track of yachts passing through with a log book. We signed the book and he also brought out some very nice shell sculptures and some wood carvings. He wanted to trade or get cash, either or. His prices were pretty steep. He sells his work to the resort next door to the village so he is used to getting paid well for his work so we said we would think about it. After he left we went into the village to visit with chief Justin. He showed us his home, which is a very traditional Island home made of grass and local wood. We had a nice chat with him and thought we would go to the resort to look around. We were met right away by the manager who told us there was still private guests on the Island and we would have to return in the afternoon. Judging by his attitude and this being the second time we tried to visit the resort we took this as a, go away we don't want you here. This left a really bad taste in my mouth. After being offered high priced carvings and an jerk for a resort manager I was ready to move on to Honiara. My crew told me to cool off and we will go to another Island close by and do some snorkeling and visit another village.

We took the dingy a half mile to the island just west of us and were met on the beach by a really nice guy, Jacob. He greeted us and invited us into his village to look around. After visiting with Jacob for an hour we learned he is an Attorney that works in Honiara and he was only home for a holiday visiting family. He was educated in Port Vila, Vanuatu and is very involved in politics. He told us of the "Tensions" that took place in this area from 1999 to 2003. The conflict was between the inhabitants of Marau Sound and the Islanders of the main island of Guadalcanal. It led to many deaths and gave the Solomon's a black eye for visitors to this day. Talking to Jacob and the snorkeling we did after really helped my attitude and we had a great afternoon. We returned to the boat and watched a few more M*A*S*H episodes.

Today we plan to visit another Island by dingy where there are a few more villages and find a few more places to swim. We may leave tonight for Honiara, we haven't decided yet.

I will talk to you soon.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Marau Sound, Guadalcanal

Hello All,
We made the 120 mile crossing without a hitch. The wind was very light so we had to run the engine most of the way. When we left the anchorage at Santa Ana and I gave Rafal and Paula a treat. They really love to sail and only sail. We had just enough wind to get us out of the anchorage so we put up the main and then I had Rafal get the anchor up. We got to sail off of the anchor and out into the bay without starting the engine, they thought that was pretty cool and I still get a kick out of it myself. It was not long after getting out into open water that the wind died. We did get to sail only a few times in the 24 hour crossing but it didn't amount to much. I motor sailed most of the way, meaning there was enough wind to keep the sails up but used the engine for a little speed. We had a beautiful evening last night without a cloud in the sky and the stars out bright. Rafal has been studying the stars and has heaps of constellations picked out now.

We arrived here at Marau Sound at 1100 this morning, position 09 49.39 S 160 41. 28 E. We dropped the anchor in sand and coral on the north end of a beautiful little Island. This place is located on the very east end of Guadalcanal. The sound is full of reefs, small Islands with white sandy beach's and clear water. It is like a mini Bay of Islands like in New Zealand. There is a village close by us and a small resort on the small island we anchored in front of. We got in the dingy and went to the resort Island first. The manager met us on the beach and told us there was a private wedding taking place and asked us if we could come back tomorrow. He told us he would be happy to show us around just not today. We told him no sweat we will go check out the village. We got back in the dingy and crossed the 100 yard lagoon between the 2 islands and met the Chiefs youngest son Charles. He was more than happy to show us around and we took a nice walk around the small village. Shortly after the tour Charles' dad showed up, Chief Justin. He is a really interesting guy and we plan to go back in tomorrow and visit more.

We have a really good feeling about this place and we will explore as much as we can before we leave on Sunday.

I will keep you updated.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rained Out

Hello All,
I woke up at 0600 to listen to Jim, Air of the Air, I wrote about him last year. He is an American guy that lives in Fiji and has a radio show on the single side band radio that keeps track of yachts on passage and gives weather reports. Anyway it looked to be a decent day till about 1100 when a squall came through with thunder and lightning. Well it never stoped raining untill about 5 pm tonight. Needless to say we didn't do much today. All of us were reading books and just hanging out. Unfortunatly we have to get going in the morning to make it to the east end of Guadalcanal by Thursday morning. There is some small Islands there that are protected by a reef and I have read there is good exploring and snorkeling. We plan to be in Honiara by Monday.
I will keep you posted on passage. It should take us 24 hours to get there and the wind looks pretty light but we will see.

I will talk to you soon.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Anchored at Santa Ana Island

Hello All,
We got here to the anchorage at 1100 today. Our position is 10 50.21 S 162 27.08 E. I had to run the engine 21 hours to get here. We a least had a good sail for more than half of the way. We got the dingy aired up and headed for the beach. There is a small village here that looks very traditional and clean as a button. The people here all seem very nice and the kids greeted us when we arrived and all 30 of them showed us around. We met the chiefs daughter and signed her yacht book. The chief is in Honiara at the moment and won't be back for a month. This is a very protected anchorage and the Island is surrounded by nice sandy beaches. After looking at all of the entry's in the yacht book since 2006 a relatively small number of boats actually stop here. It is a wonderful little Island. Two of the young kids took us on a 10 minute walk through the jungle to a fresh water lake right in the middle of the Island. It is a huge lake, about half the size of the one I grew up on and was absolutely beautiful.
We will go back tomorrow and take a hike to the other side of the island where there are 2 more villages and take a look around. I wasn't sure what to expect of the Solomon's but so far its been awesome.
Well that's all for now.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

10 48.26S 163 45.92E

Hello All,
We have had a good sail so far up till just an hour ago when the wind died out to nothing. The weather forecast predicted this but I was hoping they were wrong. I am running the iron sail right now with 77 miles to Santa Ana Island so we should get there in the morning sometime.
Everyone has just been reading books and enjoying the flat calm seas. We did have a little excitement today. After getting the sails down Rafal and Paula jumped in the 91 degree water with there snorkel gear on. They said the water clarity is amazing. Rafal said, I am going to dive to the bottom I will be right back, I told him you better be able to hold your breath for a while, we are at 12,000 feet. He said he could see the bottom of the boat perfectly from 200 feet away.
We can hope the wind may fill back in somewhat to get us in under sail but I won't hold my breath.

That's all for now. Talk to you soon.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

10 44.33S 165 05.58E

Hello All,
We are on passage to Santa Ana Island on the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island. We have had good wind all day and into the evening, in fact to good. We have 200 miles to get there and we were going a little fast so we reduced sail through the evening to slow us down some and having less sails makes it safer for squalls. It was a beautiful day and a steady 15 knots of wind on a beam reach. We will island hop a few times before we get to Honiara so will be cool to see some different places along the way and breaks the trip up to basically day sails.

I have been watching the sea water temp and it has been rising to over 91 degrees, nice and warm huh. Seas are about 4 feet so it is a pretty smooth ride.
Well that's all I know for now so I will talk to you guys tomorrow.


Friday, October 28, 2011

A Good Time in Lata

Hello All,
This morning we went across the bay again to Lata to conclude our Quarantine check in. When we got there the officer was still out of town so we took a walk around and in our travels ran into a 60 year old Polish traveler. We all hit it off with him right away, especially Rafal and Paula. We went to the market for bread and afterwards went to his hotel, well kind of a hotel, anyway we ended up chatting with him most of the day. He is on holiday here and is a HAM radio operator. He brought some portable gear with him and spent a few days out at the reef Islands not far from here broadcasting to other HAM operators. He has traveled all over the Pacific doing this. He sets up his gear and talks to people all over the world. The funny thing is he was suppose to fly out of here last week but the plane keeps getting delayed so he has been stuck here for a week now. Now keep in mind, this place has little to no Internet, land line calls are extremely expensive, there is no ATM and 99% of the place doesn't even know what a credit card looks like so all of that being said this is an awful place to be stranded. He is taking it pretty well and has had a good time just visiting with the locals. He is a really nice guy and had some good stories to tell about his travels. Rafal and Paul got to speak Polish most of the day with him so they really enjoyed that. There was a gal that was also at the hotel stranded. She was there with us also. She is originally from Vanuatu but now lives in Australia. She has an extended family that lives here so was here visiting. She has been here for 2 weeks waiting for the plane. This place really takes the "Island time" rule seriously. I made a few more trips to the Quarantine office and finally got with the guy and got all of the paperwork sorted out.

Today was a very interesting day to say the least and it was really nice to visit with those folks.

We are getting ready for the 200 mile crossing to San Cristobal Island and from there we will only be 100 miles and some change from Honiara on Guadalcanal.
I will keep in touch on the crossing so stay tuned.

P.S. This was sent on Thursday 10-27-2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lata and Flip Flops

Hello All,
Yesterday between rain showers we took the dingy 2 miles across the bay to Lata so we could check in with the Police. This is an official port of entry but due to funding they can't afford to keep a customs officer here so they have set up the police with some paperwork that they will send on to Honiara to let them know we are here. After the formalities we went to look for a place to exchange some of our money for Solomon Dollars. One of the Policemen was kind enough to show us around the town and asked in our behalf if any of the shops could exchange money for us. There is a bank here but they didn't have enough to spare. After an hour of making the rounds a kind man asked the bank for the exchange rate for our currency and helped us out himself. I had 120 dollars Australian that I got at Luganville hoping that would make an easy exchange and it worked out great. I did my research before coming here so there were no surprises and my intelligence was spot on. We looked around a few of the shops and went to look at the fresh market. It was afternoon already so there wasn't much time left. It is not a very big place but to my surprise there was more here than I thought there would be. Tobias, my crew from Germany had some good advise for me when he was on the boat, he said "Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed". It really worked for me this time. After a few hours exploring town we headed back to the boat.
When we returned we just hung out on the boat and watched a few M*A*S*H shows last night. Paula really gets a kick out of them.
Now to get to the strange header. Last night my new Flip Flops from Port Vila were stolen off of my boat. I left them in the cockpit after we returned and they were missing in action this morning. Like I said I did my research here in the Solomon's and was warned that some people here have sticky fingers. Before coming here we striped the deck of lines and things that are easy to take. I have paddle locks on everything that I sent, bolted down and we haul the dingy out at night. I have dropped the anchor 200 times in 8 different countries and this is the first theft I have had. The Pacific is a very safe place to cruise but this country in particular has had a lot of political unrest in the past and saying that, the country is very poor. It leaves a really bad taste in my mouth but it was careless of me to leave something like that out. I was warned so I can't get to upset, but still it tick's me off. The people we have met here so far have been very nice and willing to help however they can so I can't let a few thievs ruin the whole lot. Alright, I have vented so feel better now.
Tomorrow we will go to town and finish our business with the Quarantine Officer. He is suppose to be back after lunch. We will plan to leave here Saturday morning for a 200 mile crossing to Santa Ana Island in the Guadalcanal group of Islands.
That's all for now.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nendo Island, Lata, Solomons

Hello All,
We arrived at Nendo Island, Graciosa Bay, Position, 10 44.17 S 165 49.80 E. We entered the bay about 1000 yesterday after rain and squalls all through the night. It is one of the most miserable trips I can remember in awhile. We sailed the whole way but had out all of the rain gear to keep dry. Besides the weather it was a good sail up here.
As we entered the bay we were visited by a small skiff. It was the Quarantine Officer heading to some other villages for a few days. He stopped us and said if we could spare a few minutes he would give us Quarantine before he leaves so we stopped a drift and let him come onboard for the clearance. It was very easy and he was very nice. As it turns out we will have to wait till Friday till he gets back so we can pay him. The wind is suppose to be calm for a few days so we told him it would be no problem to finish the paper work on Friday. We found a beautiful flat calm little cove on the East side of the bay to anchor. We have been visited by many boats and everyone keen to trade something for veggies or wood carvings the Solomon's are famous for there wood carvings. We got a very good sleep last night and are ready for the day.
We will take the dingy across the bay this morning to Lata to check in with the Police. There is no Customs here so that will do till we can get to Honiara.

That's all for now. I will talk to you soon.


Monday, October 24, 2011

11 01.2S 166 36.68E

Hello All,
We left Vanikolo Island this morning at 0900. We no sooner got on the outside of the reef when a big squall hit us with wind and rain. I think I am almost getting used to those things now. After noon it cleared up somewhat and we have had a pretty good sail so far. We are running with the wind so I only have up the mainsail with one reef in. The wind has been about 20 knots all day and into the evening so all is well so far, we still have the night to go through. We are headed for Nendo Island, the town of Lata where we are suppose to check into the country. I have heard that the customs is not always around but we will try. We should be there at mid morning at our current speed.
All is well here and everyone is enjoying the down wind sail to the next Island Paradise.
I will talk to you soon.


Vanikolo, Solomon Islands

Hello All,
We made it to Vanikolo Island the most Eastern of the Solomon Islands. Our position is 11 40.26 S 166 55.88 E We got here at 1000 this morning after a very rough 27 hour passage. There are 8 villages on the Island but none are close by where we anchored. It is lake like conditions and very well protected so it is a nice change. We will use this only as an overnight anchorage and head for Utupua Island 4miles west in the morning.
We are all very tired so I will keep this short. I will fill you in on events as they happen.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

On Passage to the Solomon Islands

Hello All,
We are more than half way to the first Solomon Islands as we speak. The weather has been crap, rain showers and 10 foot seas but, the wind is good. We have been sailing since we left Pac Man Island at 0615 this morning. We have only a double reefed main and have been doing 5 knots plus. There were some massive squalls that hit us most of the morning. I haven't seen it rain that hard in a long time. Our destination is Vanikolo in the Santa Cruz Island group. It is not a check in port but I will never tell. lol. We plan to be there in the morning, I hope not to early. I was not expecting to be going this fast with such little sail. I will give you a position tomorrow.

Yesterday we took a walk around the village between rain showers. We went up to the new school that was just built and visited with one of the teachers. She explained how many classes there was and how many kids attend. 53 in all, not a big school but the arrangement reminded me of when I went to school in Copper Center, Alaska. After the rain stopped we went back to the village and visited with Chief Nicholson. We attended the fund raiser later yesterday and helped out by buying some fish and veggies that were for sale. We said our goodbye's to everyone and got back to the boat at 9 pm. Vanuatu has been an awesome experience and I do plan to write a Vanuatu "The Country" blog pretty soon.
I will talk to you all soon.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Grass Hut Construction

Hello All,
Right after a very light breakfast this morning we hit the beach and met up with Nickolson and his wife. We chatted for a bit then took a half hour walk out the bay where he had some lumber prepared from the bush. We all took a hand into getting it all back to the village and took a little break, then the work began. We constructed a few walls and a few ceiling headers so he can make a few rooms inside. We just had a hand saw and some nails to put it all together and it came out pretty good. We got done about 2 pm then we came out to the boat where I soldered some connections on a small battery for him. He uses the battery for light at night to go find cray fish on the beach. The light makes them freeze in there tracks and makes them easy to catch.
We headed back to the village after the wiring was done and I took in my computer. We watched some Vanuatu music videos they had and half of the village showed up to watch. It's funny, they have the DVD's but no way to watch them so when a yachtie brings a computer in the whole place shows up.
Tomorrow the village is having a fund raiser for the new school being built. We told them we would come and join in the festivities. We plan to leave for the Solomon Islands Saturday morning so we will say our good byes tomorrow.
That's all for now.


Ureparapara Island

Hello All,
We made it over to Ureparapara Island today from Motu Lava. We took a little side trip to the Reef Islands basically along the way. The reef Islands are Vanuatu's only Coral Atoll Islands in the group and if you time it right with settled weather you can anchor outside the reef and explore the shallow lagoon. We didn't have such luck with it blowing 25 knots so we got close to take a good look and then carried on. My position is 13 32.50 S 167 20.30 E. I call it Pac Man Island because of the shape. If you look it up you will see what I am talking about.
Yesterday Paula and Rafal took the dingy about a mile and a half so they could go meet the people of the village of Motu Lava Island and the small Island next door, Ra Island. I stayed behind to do some boat maintenance. They returned right before dark and had a great time. They met Father Lucas's son that rents some bungalows on Ra Island. They said the place was amazing and everyone very friendly.
We made it over here to Ureparapara Island about noon and found a place to anchor. There was one boat here already from Australia. We met him and his wife in Oyster Bay last week and they are working there way to the Solomon's also. We had a little with them and the chief earlier in the village.
Speaking of the village Rafal and I went in to say hello and take a walk around. We met chief Nicholson right away and he invited us into his home. He happens to be Father Lucas's oldest son and moved here with his mother when he was 14 years old. He became chief at 19 and was involved in politics for many years but is now just the chief of the small village of the 223 people who live here and they live very traditional. They only get a supply ship once a year so they grow 99% of what they eat. There is no airport here so the only way is by boat and it is a rough 25 mile trip from Sola.
The Chief invited us all to dinner at his place tonight and we had a great visit. They only see about 15 yachts a year so they are very welcoming to visitors. Yachts really help out the village also by giving a helping hand or trading food stuffs. In the morning Rafal and I are going to help the chief do some work to his new house he is building. That is the other cool thing, they don't have much money so they build the old way. They all live in traditional grass huts with everything made by hand with a few modern things like nails and string. It will be an interesting day tomorrow and I will let you know how it goes.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Father Lucas and the Service

Hello All,
We checked out of the country this morning with Customs and made our way unofficially to Moto Lava Island 12 miles north east of Sola, Petteson bay. It took us 3 hours to get here hard on the wind. Right before we got here just rounding the point a bit of a squall hit us and put the rail in the water and the 5 gallon shower bag in with it. It was floating ok but we had our hands full trying to get the sails down. Amazingly I never lost sight of it and recovered it after we got the sails secure. When we arrived we were trying to find the place Father Lucas told us to go anchor. The protected side of the Island has a very rocky shore so finding a sandy spot to anchor was a challenge. The whole Island is not charted very well so when we got in close Rafal jumped in the water with the snorkel gear and found a good place among all of the rocks and coral heads to anchor the boat. My position is 13 39.95S 167 39.28E It is very protected here and fairly flat so that is a nice change. On the south end of Motu Lava there is the small Island of Ra and the main village. It is surrounded by a reef and we are told it is beautiful. There is no where to anchor down there so it is a bit of a trek to get there from here. There is no village or anything in our anchorage so it is nice and quiet. I think we will spend at least one night here.

Now for the news your biting your nails off to here, Our Sunday in Sola. We went to the church services and got to see the new minister be ordained. The service was very good and as usual the singing was in perfect harmony.
After the services Father Lucas invited us back to his home. He made us coffee and told some stories. He is such a nice man, talking to him reminded me of talking to my family, always helpful and how ever he can help he will. In his 75 years he has done heaps for the country of Vanuatu and still is. He has set up a small foundation to help kids get through college that can't afford it. After the visit we went to town center and hung out with the whole village getting ready to have a lunch feast. The villages of Moto Lava also came over by skif to join. They had more food there than you can imagine and they even ground roasted a whole pig for the festivities. We were told this doesn't happen to often but because a minister was being ordained they threw a pig party. They had recorded music playing and dancing. They even had a few comedy skits done by some of the local women. We had a great time at the 3 hour feast and after it was over we went back to the boat. If that wasen't enough fun for one day we had to add a night cap. At 7 pm at the primary school we went to watch the World Cup Rugby game between New Zealand and Australia. The school has the only Satellite TV in the village and about 40 locals showed up including us. New Zealand won big time and most of the room was rooting for them. That was a good ending to a good day.

I will let you know how our time is here on Motu Lava. Have a good night.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Squal after Squal after Squal to Vanua Lava Island

Hello All,
We left Espritu Santo on Thursday late afternoon to head to the Banks Islands of Northern Vanuatu. I was keeping a close eye on the weather and Thursday looked very good for an 80 mile crossing North to Gaua Island. As we were leaving everything looked good for the crossing, 12 knots of wind beam reach with all of the sails flying. A few hours into the trip all was well with a star lit sky and Freestyle sailing along at 5.5 knots. About midnight the wind became less and less to the point where there was no wind so we got the sails down and started the engine. We were under engine for about 3 hours when the wind came up again and we could sail and we did so and were sailing once again. It wasn't long after we got everything flying that a squall was brewing to our east and it was only a matter of time that it was going to hit us with either lots of rain or wind or both. The wind hit us first so we reduced sail and waited for it to pass. This happened all through the night and into the morning. We counted 12 sail changes of some sort and we were getting pretty tired. By morning we were double reefed with staysail only and on my watch I saw 45 knots of wind for 45 minutes. When we got to Gaua Island about 10 AM the weather was terrible and in order to get to the anchorage I needed good light to get through the reefs. So I made the decision to abort Gaua and head straight for Vanua Lava Island 20 miles farther north where we planned to check out of the Country.
We arrived at the anchorage of Sola, the most Northern place of Vanuatu to check in or out of the country and the seat of government for the Banks group of Islands. After a pretty rough trip of only 16 hours we were looking forward to anchoring in the protected waters of Petteson Bay, as it turned out not so protected. You are sheltered from the wind ok but the swell was like being out at sea. We made due and had a good nights sleep after all.
This morning we got the dingy off of the deck and went into town to look around. The first person we met was a retired priest, Father Lucas. He and his family have a small beautiful resort they run here. He caters to yachts that come here and gave us a very warm welcome to the Islands. We talked for a bit and took a walk around. There is not much here for being the seat of government but all of that being said how much do you need. We walked up a hill that has a cross on it and got some good views of the anchorage. Father Lucas told us to get the boat in a little closer so not to be in the swell. When we got back we did so and he stood on the beach waving us to where the best spot was to anchor and boy what a difference. Always nice to have local knowledge. With out having good charts of the area you have to depend on locals to tell you. I think Captain Cook was the last one to chart this place because after moving the boat I'm anchored on Father Lucas's house on the Island.
We were invited to go to church in the morning and Father Lucas told us that they are ordaining a minister tomorrow so it should be good.
We will be here until Monday and then check out, well that's the plan anyway. I will keep you posted.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weathered In, Oyster Bay

Hello All,
We are still in Oyster Bay waiting for good wind and something better than rain squall after rain squall. Not to get to technical but the Inter tropical Convergence Zone is right on top of us and looks like it should pass by tonight. I will be keeping a close eye but we should be able to leave tomorrow afternoon.
In between rain showers we went to the Oyster Island and walked all the way around it. It took us 40 minutes to do so and that was with stopping and looking at a few of the beaches along the way. The resort gave us a nice map of the area and they have set up a really nice walking path. All the way around I rate Oyster Bay a 10 for anchorage, beauty, swimming and snorkeling.
I learned yesterday after going to the Yacht Club that the owner of the resort and the 61 acre Island, it sits on, is owned by a fellow cruiser that is from New Zealand. He bought it not very long ago and has been fixing it up to be a very nice place. The channel between the island and mainland Santo is only about 300 yards. They have a pontoon boat that looks like a grass hut that fairies the guests back and forth. It is only a 20 minute drive to Luganville from here so I would say he has a more than ideal setup.
I don't know what's happening tomorrow. We will figure something out and then leave here tomorrow late afternoon.
That's the plan.


Monday, October 10, 2011

More new pictures

Hello All,
I came over to the little resort this morning and figured out they have Internet so I have been here a few hours putting up more pictures.
What I will start to do is add a new album for each Island that way the pictures don't get buried in an album of one whole country. I will have this all figured out by the time I get home, hehe.
Ok battery is about dead so got to go.
Talk to you soon.


Dingy River Running and Snorkeling

Hello All,
Peterson Bay has been a beautiful anchorage. Nice and calm with no roll of the boat, almost like being on land. Yesterday we took the dingy up a river close by us and idled up a mile and a half under the canopy of large trees and around sunken logs. It winded its way all the way up to the head where there is fresh water that comes out of a 50 feet deep hole and makes an awesome blue colored pond. We went for a swim and Rafal and Paula both used a rope swing that hangs over the water by a huge Banyan tree and had a great time. The water was so clear it was like looking through a window. There were 2 other boats with there dingy's and everyone had a great time. On our way back it started pouring down rain so we got a bath in the pond and a shower in the dingy. I took a little walk while we were up at the hole to try to find the old AirForce airstrip but it looked like a hike so I returned back to the swimming hole and we left.
Today we went out to the reef around the corner of the Island and had a great snorkel. The coral was very alive with lots of fish and bright colors, I even got to see a small Turtle. Another boats dingy was out there with us and they were looking for an old WWII plane wreck but we never found it. We ended the swim by landing on one of the Islands with a small but nice white sand beach. I wanted to take a look at the 6 acre Island because I saw it for sale in Luganville while I was window shopping. They are asking 300,000 Australian Dollars for it, after looking at it, it doesn't seem a bad price. We returned to the boat later and have been hanging out.
This morning before going out to play I had to climb the mast to replace a deck light and just generally look over the rigging. Everything checked out ok so afterwards Rafal tried his hand at climbing. It's always fun watching someone new try to self ascend the mast.
I think we will leave this paradise tomorrow on the afternoon high tide and head for the Banks Islands north of us 80 miles away.
That is the plan but we will see.
I will talk to you soon.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Peterson Bay, North East Espiritu Santo

Hello All,
We left Luganville this morning at 1000 to make the 3 hour trip up to Peterson Bay. We were going to leave yesterday but it was very rainy and overcast and I wanted good light to find our way through the reefs to get in here. This morning was a perfect day to go with only partly cloudy skyies. When we arrived we found that the passage through the reefs was actually marked by the little resort that is here. It was a little confusing but once we figured it out it worked out well. The anchorage is completely surrounded by reefs and several Islands and what I didn't know is this is considered a cyclone haven for boats. It is lake like conditions once you get inside and it is one of the most beautiful settings I have seen in awhile. The Oyster Island Resort is here and is a fabulous place with a bar, bungalows and restaurant. There is also a river here that you can go up by dingy a mile and a half and see what is called the Blue Holes. It is the head of the river and natural springs come up out of the ground and form beautiful blue ponds that spill out into the river. We will go check them out tomorrow. I have seen pictures from my guides and it looks like going up a small river in the Amazon.
Just inland from here is the old Air Force base used by the Americans in WWII. I didn't know this until we got here but there was 100,000 troops stationed here. Heaps of history around here so we will take a walk and see the old airfield. You can see it from Google Earth, my position is 15 22.35S 167 11.37E Beautiful place and we are going to look forward to exploring the area in the next few days.
That's all for now.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

WWII Treasures

Hello All,
We have had such a great time here in Luganville. Yesterday we took off in the morning to go find a WWII American base camp close by. As we were walking up the road a taxi stopped and asked where we were going. We told him we were looking for the camp and he told us to get in and he would show us. We told him we were just walking and didn't want to pay for a taxi. He told us to get in, he would do it for nothing. Turns out he lives in the old camp, it is now a village but they kept the American name for the place "Mango Station One". He actually lives in the next camp over from Mango Station One, they call it "Mango Station Two". The U.S. military has such an imagination lol. Anyway Ron, the taxi driver, showed us his home and gave us a small tour of the Mango Stations. A few locals still live in the Quanset Huts that were left over but most are gone now. They really like the Huts because he said they are strong enough for a Cyclone. Ron invited us for dinner and Kava tonight at his home so we agreed and had a wonderful time visiting, he plays the guitar and sings so we were entertained by food and song.
Today we hitched a ride out to Million Dollar Point, where after the war was over the military pushed the equipment that was left over into the water. We snorkeled on it today and you name it, it is down there, trucks, axles, tires, a steel ship, engine blocks, you get the idea. Also, at the point, there are remains of a Bomber that crashed returning from the Solomon's and we were told 3 men died in the crash.
Last night we treated ourselves to a large Pizza with the works on it at the Resort that is in front of the anchorage. Boy was that good, we were loving every bite.
We have had a great time here in Luganville and everywhere we have been in the Island group. Everyone says it is the locals town and they were correct. The place has a really good feel to it and you don't have to go far to be in the sticks, so to speak. I think I have enjoyed it better than Port Vila.
Weather permitting we will leave in the morning for Peterson Bay, 16 miles north of here.
I will keep you posted.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Photos

Hello All,
I spent hours getting very few photos uploaded to the Vanuatu album so take a look. I only had pictures on the computer from 2 Islands ago so not completely updated but it is something I guess.
We will go snorceling tomorrow so I will let you know how that goes.
It's late and I am heading for bed so I will talk to you soon.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Luganville, Esprito Santo Island, Vanuatu

Hello All,
Our stay at Waterfall Bay Pentecost was awesome. As soon as we arrived there on Saturday we sought out the waterfall with the fresh pool at the bottom that I read about in one of the cruising guides and had a very nice fresh water swim after basking in the sun most of the day. We were on the lee side of the Island and the wind was light which made it very hot and with the volcano smoke from Ambrym Island making a green house I saw 95 degrees with 80% humidity. The water temperature in the sea was the hottest I have seen at 88 degrees. After cooling off we took a walk around and ran into the head master of the school. He invited us to church on Sunday and then a feast where the whole village showed up. They slaughtered a steer for the occasion so there was fresh meat with all of the food. It was a great lunch and got to visit with all of the people there. We were told it was a ceremony for the kids that won a sports championship last weekend in Port Vila. This was the biggest school in Pentecost and covered grades lst through 8th. Most of the kids that go there are from far away villages on the Island so they live there on the school grounds. They only get to go home when there is a break in the semesters and for summer break. We had a very nice visit with the head master over coffee before we left last night.
We made it to Luganville at 1100 this morning. Position is 15 31.34S 167 09.90E. We sailed most of the way with very light winds that moved us about 3 knots. The sea was flat so it was like sailing on a lake. As we got closer and the sun rose the wind died out and I was forced to start up the iron sail for the last 2 hours of the 60 mile trip.
After we got anchored here in Luganville we took a walk to town. Its not a big place but has stores, Banks and some souvenir shops. It is not Port Vila but it is the main port for exporting most of the things that Vanuatu sends to other countries. The Indigenous people of Vanuatu call it the locals town. We Alaskan's can relate to that, huh. We had to check in with customs and immigration today so that's all settled now. I am hoping for good Internet so I can post some pictures for you. I will look into that tomorrow.

Trivia moment:
Luganville was the largest U.S. military outpost South of the Equator in WW2 second to Pearl Harbor. This was the port that supported the war effort in the Solomon Islands. Walking around town I have seen a few quanset huts being used for businesses and heaps of rusting infrastructure from yester year.

There is a point coming in that we passed that is called "Million Dollar Point". After the war was over the U.S. military tried to sell the tanks, jeeps, trucks to the people here, with no takers they bulldozed them all into the water not far from here. It is an awesome snorkel spot I am told and the wreak of the President Coolidge is not far from there but that's more of a tank dive area to see that.
We will be here till Thursday then we will check out some very nice anchorages on the east side of the island. Esprito Santo is the biggest Island of Vanuatu and has lots to offer a cruising boat so we are very excited to be here. I will keep you filled in on the time in the middle as usual.


Friday, September 30, 2011

River Bath, Pentecost

Hello All,
This morning after breakfast Rafal and I went to snorkel around Captain Cook Rock just south of us. There is a small reef but there is a river close by and it made the water very murky so it was hard to see so we gave up after an hour. We went to take a look at the small river and decided it was perfect for a bath and laundry. After returning to the boat we gathered up our clothes and all of us went back to the river. I took the engine off of the dingy and we carried it over to put it in the river and gave it a bath too. After we got finished we went river rafting and took the dingy out 100 feet of small rapids to the sea. That was pretty fun I must say.
This afternoon Rafal and Paula went to the village. I stayed behind and read a book. They walked for 40 minutes to the village just north of us. They said it's a bigger village and everyone was asking where they were from and how they got here. They got to see the Land Diving Tower that Pentecost is famous for. Basically Pentecost is the grand father to bungy jumping. They build a tower 100 feet tall out of what ever wood is available and bind it all together with vines and natives jump from it with vines tied on there angles. Originally it was a celebration of the Yam harvest but now they do it for visitors and yachties. They charge heaps of money to see this, usually around June, so they are pretty num to visitors afterwards. Hundreds of people come to see this every year and one a side note, the guy that made bungy jumping popular got his idea from this Island.
We will move onto Waterfall Bay tomorrow morning about 8 miles north so I will talk to you then.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wali Bay, Pentecost Island

Hello All,
We made it up to Wali Bay at 1130 yesterday. Wind was light and seas were pretty flat along the way. It was only 12 miles to get up here so was not to far to go. My position is 15 55.65S 168 11.12E
We went and took a look at the village in the after noon and visited with one of the loacals for a bit. There is a fresh water stream not far from here so we plan to do some snorceling by some reefs close by, then take a bath and do some laundry in the river. It is not a big village, maybe 50 people so it is pretty basic. I don't know how long we will stay, maybe leave tomorrow but we will see.
That's all for now. I will talk to you soon.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wood Carvings, Ranon, Vanuatu

Hello All,
We had a great time on the beach at Ranon Yesterday. We met a few of the wood carvers that make the Tam Tam drums and one of the guys, Ruben, showed us some work he had for sale. We told him we would think about it and took a walking tour of the rest of the village. As we were walking we ran into a guy from the village next door called Ranvetlam. It was about a 30 minute walk and on the way he climbed one of the coconut trees and got some down for us to drink. It was very hot yesterday so it was nice to have some coconut water. When we arrived at the village he introduced us to Mike, a young guy from England. He has been staying in the village for months taking the language and writing it all down and making a dictionary so it can be taught at school. The only way the language is taught right now is just the parents speaking it, so this way it can actually be taught in school. This is a program that the Vanuatu government is backing to keep the languages alive and well. It was very interesting speaking to him and he showed us around the village. Mike introduced us to the chief and he is also a wood carver. He showed us his work and it was awesome. I actually bought a piece from him and it is a work of art. We visited for a bit more and headed back.
We took a very nice swim in the bay on our return, wow that was refreshing.
Last night we went into the village for a Kava session with the village. They were all very interested in my trip and the boat and we visited for hours. It is one of the first times so far in Vanuatu that they seemed more interested in us and less interested in how we can make a few bucks on these guys. I hate to say it that way but I have had that feeling a few times so far. When we get through the Island Group I will write a blog on the Country as a whole so you can get a good idea about the people, the land and the culture.
We will head up to Pentecost Island this morning 12 miles away. The wind has been flat for days now so we will have to use the Iron sail. Speaking of weather, I don't talk about it much and that's because there is nothing to talk about. Sunny and calm here this morning, further outlook, Sunny and calm.
That's all for now.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On The Move Again

Hello All,
We moved to Ranon this morning. This village is on the north west coast of Ambrym Island. The position is 16 08.48S 168 07.01E
We had a great time in Craig Cove. The locals were all very friendly and invited us for Kava drinking with the rest of the village yesterday after noon. It was not a big place and had 2 very small stores where we got some fresh bread. Myself and the crew went snorkeling around some of the small reefs on the point and saw heaps of fish and a few turtles. The water was so clear you could see the anchor at 50 feet of water. We went into the village this morning to see their fresh veggie market but it didn't have much so we decided to move onto Ranon Village 15 miles up the leeward side of the Island.
We arrived here at 1130 this morning and got settled. There is one other French boat here, this is the first time we have shared an anchorage in 7 days. The crew went for a swim, it was so hot today. The active Volcanos on the Island have surrounded it by smoke giving a greenhouse effect and no wind, zip zero, we had to motor sail all the way up here. We were visited by a dug out canoe shortly after we arrived. He welcomed us to the village and told us to come into town anytime and he would show us around. His name is Barry and he heads up all of the activities for visitors and yachties. He has a guided tour up to the top of the Volcano which takes 2 days, a very small part by car and the rest hiking. The Volcano is famous for its lava pools inside, the only problem is 99% of the time you can't see inside for all of the smoke. Rob on Compass Rose did this tour a month ago and he told us to save our money. This is also the most dangerous Volcano of the archipelago because of its unpredictability of eruptions. I went into the village on my own this after noon to take a look around and met up with Barry. It seems Ranon is famous for what they call Tam Tams. They are 8 foot tall carved statues as big around as a tree and are carved out at the bottom for different sounds when you hit them, basically a big wooden drum 8 feet tall with a face on the top. I met one of the carvers as he was working on one. Very beautiful art work. I only stayed briefly but we will all return tomorrow to get some pictures and take a walk.
I will talk to you soon.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Craig Cove, Ambryn Island

Hello All,
We made a very fast trip over to Ambrym Island yesterday morning. We had ESE winds at 15 knots so it was an awesome 16 mile sail over here.
My position is 16 15.13S 167 55.20E
As we got closer to the Island the wind picked up to 24 knots so we had to finish the last 5 miles under a double reef main and staysail only. Craig Cove is suppose to have a small store and fresh bread. We stayed on the boat all yesterday afternoon but we will go take a look around today.
I will let you know what we find out.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gaspard Bay, Vanuatu

Hello All,
We decided to stay another night here in the bay. The Chief of the area came out to the boat in a dug out canoe an hour after we arrived and told us there was an anchoring fee and if we were swimming there was a fee for that also. He said after paying we could do what ever we wanted in the area as long as we liked and he would show us around one of the Islands as a tour guide. I agreed to this extortion and sent him on his way.
So yesterday we took the dingy over to the Sakao Island just south of us and went and found the chief. He met us on the muddy flats in front of the island. It was low water so we had to anchor the dingy out a ways until the tide came back in. This is the areas Plantation Island, so most of the surrounding villages grow there crops here.
The Chief introduced us to a few folks and we took a walking tour around the Island and he told us about traditions, customs and showed us how they used to dress using us as manikins, I'll tell you more about this at a later date (hehe). We returned to the beach where the dingy was and they fed us lunch and had a nice visit with the plantation keepers. We said our goodbye's and went out to the pass that we entered through and Rafal went snorkeling on the reef, Paula and I just headed back to the boat, it was over cast and I didn't feel like swimming and nether did Paula so Rafal swam back to the boat. On his way back one of the dug out canoes fishing on the reef invited him to jump in the boat so he hitched a ride with him. He really got a kick out of that.
This morning we will head for Craig Cove on Ambrym Island 16 miles north of here. It looks like another good sailing day so we should make the crossing in good time.
I must finish my coffee and get the boat ready to get under way so I will talk to you soon.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Geography Lesson, Lamen Isl

Hello All,
We had a really great time yesterday on Lamen Island 1 mile across from there we anchored the boat. The position of the Island is 16 35.19S 168 08.18E. We took the dingy across to see the small village that is there and say hello. The Island is surrounded by a reef so we had to pick a spot where the waves were not breaking, always exciting dealing with reefs. When we got to shore we took a walk around and passed by the primary school. The head master teaching there said hello and invited us inside to meet all the children. He asked us to sit in front of the class room and tell the kids where we are from and what its like to live there. After we told a few stories and explained what it's like to live in our countries he asked if we knew how to play a guitar, I told him I play a little so he handed it to me and said, play something for the kids. I just kept it simple and played a verse and a chorus from "Knocking on Heavens Door" That was a lot of fun and the kids got a kick out of it. The head master then started playing "Country Road" and all of the kids were singing along with him, as we were singing I was replacing "West Virginia" with Vanuatu, Everyone laughed very hard.
After all of the fun the head master gave us a tour of the village. He was born and raised there and after a few years of teaching around Vanuatu he finally got to teach in his own village and he is loving it being back home. He told us the history of the Island and showed us the house where he grew up and introduced us to a few of the Dug out Canoe builders. They are carved out of a big tree and shaped into a boat and then an outrigger is added. They are not very big boats, about 10 feet long. It takes about one month to complete one and it lasts about 3 years before it gets rotten. Some try using paint and epoxy to make them live longer but most just build a new one in 3 years. We thanked him for the tour and we headed back to the boat before dark.
This morning we pulled up anchor and headed for the South East Corner of Malakula Island 19 miles away. There is a group of Islands here called The Maskelyne's. They are a very small group and are very low Islands with reefs around them. We got over here at 1530 and anchored in Gaspard Bay just as you enter the group, our position is 16 28.38S 167 49.18E We will be here just for the night and then move 5 miles to a place we were told was awesome.
That's all I know for now so I will talk to you soon.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Epi Island Vanuatu, Lamen Bay

Hello All,
We got here just as I planed at 0830 this morning. The light from the sun was in our eyes but was still easy to find a good spot to anchor. My position in the world is 16 35.79S 168 09.86E.
The bay is very shallow but is free from most hazards so I got into 14 feet of water and dropped the anchor. We got settled for a few hours then took the dingy to the beach. There is a small but nice village here and everyone said hello as we walked around. We wanted to find some fresh bread and one of the locals took us to someone's home. He bakes bread in a wood fired concrete oven. The recipe reminds me of a French baguette but he does it with a loaf, it was the best bread I have had in a while. We bought 2 loafs and plan to get 2 more tomorrow. There is also a small Resort here but not how you would think. I have found that most of the resorts here in Vanuatu are owned by locals and are not fancy, just a place to stay where they feed you and show you around. There is also a small Yacht club here, I plan to go talk to the owner tomorrow just to say hello.
After all of the exploring we all went for a swim. We didn't have to go far we just jumped off of the boat. There is a mammal that I had never heard of that lives here between the bay and Lamen Island next door, it's called a "Dugong". Paula spotted him first and I went to see. I would have to say it is a cousin of the Walrus but if you google it let me know. It is an amazing animal and not aggressive, it just swims around and eats the grass growing on the bay bottom. The bay also has more turtles than you can count. When I jumped in the water there was one in the shade of the boat on the bottom just taking a break from the sun. Rafal and Paula got some really good underwater pictures of our new friends so I hope to post them to show you.
Tomorrow I think we plan to take the dingy over to Lamen Island, a half mile across, I have been told there is a nice village there that welcome visitors.
I will tell you more later.